WHY I CAME BACK TO OPEN DATA
I thought I was done with Open Data in the late Spring of 2015. I had experienced severe brain trauma from an accident and penned my retirement letter on my blog the same day Mike Bracken left the UK’s Government Digital Service. So why did I come back? Mostly because I have recovered. But I also came back because I believe that there is a superior product to deliver data storytelling. That product is OpenDataSoft.
I have spent the last half-decade as an open data pundit. I worked hard to keep my comments agnostic to the technology. But OpenDataSoft's platform, work culture and ethics won me over. I am a believer, and I believe the best Open Data Platform solution is OpenDataSoft.
If you live in the US and have something to do with Open Data then you probably know my name. Among the American Open Data portals I have built are the City of Raleigh, City and County of Durham, Gainesville, Roseville, Newark, Rutgers and now the Town of Chapel Hill.
We may have met at the World Bank; I work there occasionally as a recognized expert. Maybe you are with the Open Data Institute? I was a charter node member and frequent visitor of the London campus.
We may have crossed paths at the Open Government Partnership Summit in Dublin, Ireland or in London. I co-authored (with the OKF’s Denis Parfenov and others) the Irish submission to the OGP in 2013. The Open Knowledge Foundation gave a presentation and staged a Civil Society Organization meetup. This was in support of Reform Minister Brendan Howlin’s OGP Submission.
Later that week there was a CKAN hackathon with Ciaran Gilsenan, the Founder of BuildingEye. Ciarnan went on to found "Code for Ireland" that same day.
I had a comfortable life in the corporate world. I worked as the Principal of Solutions Analytics for MetLife. My own company had dissolved after my accident and I worked at MetLife through my recovery. My interest in Open Data was rekindled as my brain started to heal. I had the chance to talk with David Thoumas when he was in North Carolina in March 2016. By that time, Ian had joined OpenDataSoft and was doing business development. I indicated my interest in joining OpenDataSoft. Just last week I was made the offer and I accepted. This week has been exciting. The product has so many data processors.
I am happy. I am back. Thank you to the OpenDataSoft family for the warm welcome.
Let’s go open some data.